4 Steps to Unlocking Your Creativity (By Using Your Painful Past)


Human creativity is both a gift, and a mystery. And, although we all have the potential to create art and beauty; many of us are either unaware of our ability, or unsure on how to unlock this gift.

There is no strict formula to follow in order to unleash your creative prowess, however; here are four steps that can assist you in unlocking your creativity by using your painful past as a catalyst.

1. Accept Your Past

My past, like most of us, is sprinkled with happiness and pain. Fortunately, happiness is a more prominent feature in my life. Yet, despite my rather happy existence, I have a difficult time shaking off the hurt that I have endured. You probably have the same issue. A lot of us do.

My childhood was filled with great memories, and some bad ones. My father was a terrific dad overall. He was a great provider, and only wanted the best for us. But, there was a dark side to him. He had a hair-trigger temper that would lead to sporadic verbal and physical abuse. The emotional scars from those moments remain with me to this day.

For most of my life, I fought my own memories. I know that sounds strange. But, I did. I just refused to accept that something bad could have ever happened to me. I wanted to think I had a perfect existence.

One day, though, I had enough of denying who I was. I began to accept my past. And forgive those who hurt me (which is difficult, but necessary).

The moment you begin to accept your past, you are ready to begin your future. The future in which you unleash your creativity unto the world.

2. Discover Your Passion

Throughout my life, I always had a creative spark. Particularly, I enjoyed writing stories. Creating fictional worlds where I had the power to control the events gave me a sense of comfort. It helped me make sense of the “real” world I was living in.

As I got older, I experimented with other forms of creative expression – photography, acting and stand-up comedy. Each of these forms of creativity gave me an outlet to express my deep emotions in a positive and constructive manner.

That’s what you need to do. Discover what makes you feel positive. It can be anything. From cooking, to gardening, to painting. Anything. The important thing is that it excites you. It moves you.

When you finally tap into the hurt from your past, you will unleash the emotions inside that are filled with creative expression. Instead of holding the pain inside, you are finding a way to express it in a positive manner. Why does it work this way?

Well, my theory is this – when we suffer a trauma, we have a difficult time making sense of it. So, when you tap into your creativity, you are alleviating your brain from the troubles and giving it an opportunity to create something wonderful. You are essentially “repurposing” the pain.

Once you discover your creative passion, you need to hone those skills.

3. Develop Your Creative Skills

Creative endeavors, like anything in life, need practice. You will only get better by doing. If you want to write, then write. A lot. If you want to take landscape photographs. Well, then. Get outside and take photos.

You have to hone your creativity. Not because it is a job. But, because you enjoy it. And because you will find more pleasure in it, as you learn about the art form. I use the term art in the broadest sense possible. Art is clearly subjective, and you must embrace who you are by allowing yourself to enjoy your preferred form of artistic expression.

4. Share Your Passion

This may be the best aspect of it all. You get to show others your creation. Your audience can be just your best friend. Or it can be the world by displaying it on the internet.

You can, of course, keep your passion all to yourself. But, how good would it feel to brighten someone else’s day with something you created? Amazing. Trust me.

The common thread that weaves through all of my creative endeavors is simple – I am trying to make sense of the hurt from my past by entertaining and inspiring others. This is something we all can do. We just need to unlock our creative powers by accepting our past.

Photo by Cubmundo

23 thoughts on “4 Steps to Unlocking Your Creativity (By Using Your Painful Past)”

  1. Very well delivered, Kevin.

    Forgiveness is like half of the story already. It’s hard (or even impossible) to move forward without forgiveness.

    And yes, all your creative prowess may not mean anything if you don’t share it with the world.

    Beautiful post.

  2. Hi Ethan,

    Thanks for your kind words, and great comment. Forgiveness is something I constantly grapple with, like most of us. And, yes, without forgiving the wrongdoer, you will be trapped under the weight of the anger. Thanks again for your comment. Have a great day.

    – Kevin

    1. Hi Tara,

      Thanks for the comment. I totally hear you. When I was in college, I wrote a lot of poetry. And the best poems I wrote were always the result of some sort of emotional discomfort I was undergoing. Thanks again, and have a wonderful day.

      – Kevin

  3. Great post Kevin!
    Life, at least to me, is all about creation in whatever way shape or form! And as the most amazing painters, musicians and other types of artists have indeed taught us, there’s a lot of beauty to be found in pain. Thank you for helping us transform pain into beauty!

    1. Hi Linda!! Thank you. I agree with you. Many times, the most amazing creations are the result of some sort of pain or trauma. Have a great day, and thanks again for the comment.

  4. There are certain places and moments in life where you might be surprised at how creative and imaginative that it can get when you do not propose it as bedtime , when traveling by bus to work, or just take a shower, curiously I want to share something that helped me a lot while I showered , to be much more creative with my goals in life http://inspower.co/visualizing-success/

  5. Hi Kevin, I really enjoyed your post. Especially the part about “repurposing” your pain, that part really struck a chord for some reason. Keep up your creative journey, being “creative” doesn’t just mean you paint nice pictures!

  6. Hi, Kevin!

    As I read your post, something I know became clearer. That tapping into our inner wisdom and creativity, finding purpose, and fulfilling our calling often lie within the context of life’s adverse moments and the pain they cause. And the reason most of us can’t see it is because we’re always running away from it.

    Thanks for a great post!

    1. Hi Pat!

      Thanks for the great comment. You are totally right. Many times in life it is the adversity that pushes us to new limits. The pain causes us to dig deep inside to start healing. And in the process, we can discover some amazingly positive things.

      Have a great day, Pat.

  7. Great post Kevin! You have written a great piece on Unlocking Your Creativity. All human being have creativity deep down, but for many, tough journey of life make them forget their passion and they bottle it deep down, never allow it out. They just need a motivation to unlock that creativity and what motivation will be greater than a feel to brighten someone else’s day with something you created. If you can bring a smile to someone’s face with your creation, you will also find a new purpose in your life. That will be a new beginning starting in your life.

  8. Just found your blog, Kevin. So terrific and honest! I’m learning to repurpose the pain. It’s a daily struggle but counting blessings as opposed to troubles helps! Thanks for writing and thanks for finding my blog!

  9. There are always a “Due to circumstances beyond our control” I had my share and still do. But hey a lot of understanding and trying to rise up from it. I’m still working on it. I do enjoy reading your blog. So much I can relate, appreciate and take in. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. I love this post! It’s very well-written and super relevant to my life right now. Trying to figure out what to do with your life is really hard, and that’s a big struggle for me right now. But like you, I love to write…it makes me feel alive. Kepp up the great work and I’m excited to follow along with you!

  11. These are very powerful points, thanks for sharing them. My favorite, “The moment you begin to accept your past, you are ready to begin your future.” I believe it applies to people grieving as well. I have seen individuals stuck in their pain or their grief. I am saving this post for future use when mentoring.

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